Crowdsourcing My Next Workout Plan

So, once I wrap up my months of training through this #@$*&! rut with the Baystate Marathon on October 18, running and I are taking a little break.

Kinda.

I still plan to run – probably just enough to maintain fitness and clear my head, though. No garmin, no pacing, no training for a few months, at least. Probably more. I want to give myself a chance to miss it and return to looking forward to my runs. I also want to return to enjoying Friday and Saturday nights and hanging in my PJ’s on weekend mornings. It’s time.

It is also time to do something else for a bit – I’m way out of whack when it comes to fitness. I’m good on cardio. No issues with endurance. My legs are strong. My core is so pathetic, I’m surprised that I can even sit unassisted, let alone run a marathon. It has to be on sheer willpower. My arms resemble those of Olive Oyl. I could lift all day and never have pipes, but I think I could stand to have a little more arm and back strength. I’m a hernia waiting to happen. And I am completely inflexible.

I hate cross-training and am a complete neanderthal when it comes to different kinds of workouts. So I thought I would throw it out to my blogger friends – what should I do during my run break?

There are only 3 things that I will not consider:

  1. Cross Fit. Just no. I’m the most antisocial exerciser in the world. That would be torture for me. Plus, I look at those set ups and just know I’d end up hurting myself.
  2. Pure Barre (or other bar method). Tried it, hated it. Great workout but could not stop looking at the clock. Life’s too short. And I jacked up my calf doing it and none of the instructors could help me figure out how it happened or how to avoid aggravating it.
  3. Swimming. I don’t swim. Ever.

Other than that, I’m open to suggestions. Pilates? Kettlebells? Free weights? Classes? Gym personal trainer? Home personal trainer (we have a Universal set up in our basement. No, I’ve never used it. if you saw me in person, you would know without me even telling you.)? Something fancy and new I have never even heard of? I’m sure there’s plenty.

The last time I maintained a regular schedule of cross training, it was when Nautilus was the most advanced thing out there and the first George Bush was president. I’m not kidding. Help me out.

What say you, Blogosphere Peeps? What should I do next????

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5 Things You Shouldn’t Do in a Fitness Class. Like Ever.

I’ve been spending some quality time at the gym lately.  And when I say quality, I mean sweat pouring down the face, heart rate thumping, Quality Time. Running and I haven’t broken up. We’re just seeing other people.

In fact, we’ve been “dating.” And for now, we’re getting along brilliantly. We see each other 3 or so times a week- for breakfast, coffee and an early supper. The rest of the week I have been flirting with Group Classes at my gym- Spin, Group Ride, Body Pump and Group Centergy (or Spin, Spin, Full Body Weight Training and Yoga for the non-Les Mills familiar folk). I’m loving it. I’ll admit it. It’s been a nice balance lately. I feel stronger. I’m sore. I’m peppy. I look forward to Running. All good—with one teeny tiny exception.What NOT to do.

Exercise in a group setting is incredibly motivating. Follow along like a nice little worker bee, and you’ll get something out of it- a boost in energy, a feeling of “We’re all in this sweat lodge together, Kids!”, and a great workout. It’s kind of mindless. But, it’s a Group. As in: A Bunch of Strangers. With Group Fitness comes great responsibility, a Code of Etiquette.  Sometimes, people forget they’re in a PUBLIC space, and not in their clothing strewn bedroom in front of their mirror, semi-clad in side crow, taking selfies, and tweeting them. So, with Group Fitness in mind, here are a few gentle reminders of what NOT to do when you’re working out with 40 of your new Gym BFFs.

  1. Wear Clothes. As in, wear actual shorts, not virtual shorts. It’s fantastic that you can rock a pair of booty shorts and subsequently bounce a quarter off of your ass. I say, BRAVO!  Butt, as you’re bending over flat backed, and grabbing a swig of your coconut water, be considerate of the people behind you who can see every square inch of you. INSIDE AND OUT. And listen, we all haven’t had enough coffee for that. Or vodka for that matter. Clothes. Wear them. And please be sure they cover your bits.cardio exercise
  2. Check Yourself Out. Of course, if you’re checking your form out while lifting a ton of weights, that’s perfectly acceptable. That’s what the 400 mirrors lining the room are there for. Here’s what they’re not there for: They are not there for you to bust out your lipstick and re-line your lips before re-applying MAC Viva Glam V to your perfect pout before class is even finished. It’s distracting. It’s also not hawt. It’s ridiculous. You’re in the middle of class which is still going on. Stop, Vanity Smurf. Stop.I am pumped
  3. Social Media. Stop posting in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YikYak, Tinder, Plenty of Fish or whatever the hell the app of the moment is. PUT THE PHONE DOWN. It’s only a goddamn hour. Sixty stinking minutes. Unplug. While you’re following along on the floor doing planks, they’re standing there in the middle of class, dumbbell in one hand, iPhone in the other totally oblivious. I’m sure they’re getting in one hell of a workout {insert audible eye roll}. Again, it’s distracting. And rude. Stop wasting everyone’s time. OURS especially.Gym Meme
  4. Spread out. Weights. Plates. Mat. Risers. Phone. Keys. Hoodie. Water. Supplements. A Ziploc baggie of grilled chicken. All things EVERYWHERE. I mean really. Keep it together. Class is tight. You’re making it tighter. I’m waging a campaign against gymspreading. Be considerate people. I’m next to you. If you’d stop instagramming pics of how much weight you’re squatting, look up, and actually squat the damn weight, you’d know you weren’t alone. #stopthespreadmanspreading
  5. Do your own thing. You might be able to get away with this to a degree in spin, but in a class where you’re laying on a bench doing tricep extensions, and they’re standing doing clean and presses right over your head? Um. NOT GOOD. The same goes for group instruction that’s choreographed, albeit with a slight exception. If I do my own thing in Zumba, it’s because I have no goddamn idea what the steps are, I’m just pretending I’m Jenny from the Block. That’s why I’m in the back. They’re being rude, distracting and dangerous. I’m clueless with minimal rhythm. We know you’re an individual. Do your thang, Girl. Do your thang. Just don’t do it over my head with that wobbly plate dangling off the bar.  Don’t be THAT person. No one likes them. do your thing mindy project

I wish I could tell you that I just sat here, making this shit up. But alas, all this is true. Sweet Jesus. I’ve seen it all the past few weeks. Consider this post a Gym PSA. 🙂

What’s the worst behavior you’ve ever seen in class? Ready? GO!

Pure Torture

Yesterday, as I was about to hit “publish” on this ode to my hatred for cross-training, I saw that Colby had published a new post – about her love of cross-training. Oh, Yin and Yang we are, Young Grasshoppers! Here’s my take…

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Have I mentioned that I hate to cross-train?

In case you haven’t caught the last 500 times I have mentioned it: I hate to cross train.

First, because whatever it may be, it isn’t running (duh). If I am doing something that falls under the category of “exercise,” I want it to involve running. Or cycling. Cycling is ok. But it’s gotta be something with forward motion – weights and the like are lost on me and doing them just makes me wish I was running instead.

Second, because no matter what I choose to do, it hurts. A lot. Because whatever it may be, I never stick with it. Muscles are so funny like that. Drag them from their slumber and make them perform like Marines 3 times a year and they will complain loudly each of those 3 times (duh). Wimps.

Every year, I resolve to cross-train. I know it is good for me, my overall health and even my running. And every year, other than riding my bike to train for the Pan Mass Challenge and some wintertime sessions on my bike trainer, I fail miserably in the resolution. This year was no different, so in a last-ditch effort to squeeze something in before 2015, I signed up for a month’s worth of unlimited classes at Pure Barre.

Oh. My. God.

It is so hard.

Satan himself could not design class more likely to push me out of my comfort zone. I am neither flexible, nor coordinated, nor strong. If I had any one of those attributes, maybe I could lean on that talent and get through the class without crying inside. But I don’t, so I can’t. I am such a square peg in this round hole of a class, it isn’t funny. Well, kinda funny. But mostly painful.

I also don’t have any cute workout clothes, so I’m like the Rudolph of the class. All these years, I have walked through Lululemon looking for running shorts with hidden pockets and wondered where the hell people wear all of those wraps, circle scarves and leg-warmer-y type socks. Now I know – they wear them to barre class. I, of course, show up for barre class like I show up for most other things – in running tights. (And so far, they are still letting me join in all of the reindeer games torture! Probably because I am paid up through 12/31. Let’s see what happens if I try and re-up come Jan 1.)

The class brings you through a series of exercises that target pretty much every muscle below your chin. It is a combo of pilates, yoga, isometrics, Lotte Berk method, and whatever else the sickos can incorporate into each 55 minute class. You do work on a mat, at a barre, standing, sitting, you name it. Sometimes you use specific instruments of torture: a ball, weights, elastic bands, and sometimes you are forced to torture yourself without any props. The goal is to work your muscles to the point of fatigue, which generally takes me about 3 seconds. It is so freaking hard. And made all the more difficult by the fact that I can barely touch my toes, let alone “shake things out with a split-stretch” after a particularly rough circuit. Are they serious? I’m pretty sure I couldn’t do a split when I was a toddler.

I cannot believe I just ran a marathon with this body. I must have run it solely on willpower, because I am so very weak I can’t believe I can stand up unassisted, let alone run a marathon.

My abs are abysmal. My lower back is even worse. My arms and shoulders are in better shape but nothing to brag about. Not even a little. Even my legs get crazy-sore and wildly shaky during class. Et tu, Hamstrings?

The only part of my body that isn’t bothered by the exercises is my “seat,” as they call it in Pure Barre lingo. Gluteus Maximus for you science folks. I assume that this is either because I am constantly forced to run hills in my hilly neighborhood or, more likely, because I am doing the “seat” exercises wrong. shhhhh. don’t tell! If the instructor notices, I will get an “adjustment,” which involves her touching my “seat” to move it into position – kind of unpleasant for both of us, don’t you think?

Don’t let the legwarmers and cutesie accessories fool you – this class is not for the faint of heart, or muscle. I hate it. But I need it. So I’m going to keep going – at least until the month is up.

Am I the only running junkie who hates to cross train? Has anyone else tried a barre class? What did you think??

I’m a burn out.

Who just re-joined their old gym and kicked her own ass? Me!!!!!  I would raise my arm, but alas, I can’t lift it higher than this keyboard.  COLBY IS BACK IN ACTION!  (Yes. I just referred to myself in the 3rd person which I tend to do often.) It’s been a long, LONG year of running, running, cycling, and more running. Throw in a trip to the ER, an Achilles injury and a SURPRISE!  surgery, and I’m pretty much cooked. If I were a Butterball Turkey, the pop up timer rammed into my quad would have popped MONTHS ago. And lord knows those pop-up timers don’t work for shit.  So essentially, like that bird, I’m a heap of overdone sawdust. Kramer The Turkey

Dare I say I’m burnt out?  I’m daring. I’m goddamn burnt out.  It’s not that I’ve hung up my running shoes, I just need a break both mentally and physically. Have you ever needed that?  I know it’s time because running seems like a chore. {Faints.} And that’s my red flag. I love running with all that I’ve got.  We’re talking serious relationship here. But for now, we might need to see other people for a few months, so I am strong enough and motivated enough to fall back in love with running. Then we can go on long weekends in the country and shit. Oh I’ll still lace up, but not 7 days a week. I just can’t right now. I’m sore in places that I haven’t been sore and I really think it’s because I’m weak in spots that used to be strong. As a result a weak muscle puts more stress onto the muscle it’s attached to because it has to work harder, and before you know it you can play the opening of Stairway to Heaven on your hamstrings when the real problem can be in your lower back. Just my own theory here people, I’m not an expert, but I do know my own body and that’s what I’m missing- strength training. In the efforts of full disclosure, I was a long time gym rat. I used to lift almost every day. I miss it. My biceps do too. I swear, I just heard them sigh.i'm a gym unicorn

So here’s my plan: I need to cross train. I need to work on my core. I need yoga. I need spin. I need torture the step mill. Cross country skiing! Snowshoeing! Hiking!  I need to mix it up, both in the gym and out.  Call it a running reboot. I re-joined my old gym which has a BOAT load of classes including Les Mills’ Group Classes as well as Spinning. Here’s a sample:

Group Active
Group Centergy
Group Core
Group Kick
Group Ride
Group Power
Group Groove
Group Blast
{Note: I have little to ZERO idea what those even mean, BUT I’M DOING ‘EM! So stay tuned.}
Spinning
Yoga
Pilates
And ZUMBA!

Of course with all of the options, I went there and dove right on in, spent close to 3 hours either in class or on the Killer Step Mill. Total Gym Binge. I was belly up to a fitness buffet, gorging myself on exercise. This has been going on for days. And today I can’t raise my arms.

Ahhhhh, I love a break.

Do you ever feel the need to mix it up? Are you or were you ever a gym rat? Do you take classes?  Favorite class- GO!

Prancercise, Part Deux.

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Girlfriend is back. And I am elated.

And after the shit ass Monday I had, I couldn’t have been happier to see her sassy prancey self. Why is it that the day back from a fantastic, sun drenched, do-good vacation, you wind up getting shanked the moment you set one tan paw back into work? Thank heavens for The Prancercise Lady (née Joanna Rorhback). She’s back with a new vid. And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. In case you’re NOT one of the 10,000,000+ individuals who peeped her first YouTube video, I’ll enlighten you. What is Prancercise you ask?

Prancercise® is defined as: A springy, rhythmic way of moving forward,similar to a horse’s gait and ideally induced by elation. “This form of movement, along with dietary and spiritual principles can create the most satisfying, holistic and successful fitness program one could hope to experience. I encourage anyone who is ready for a huge change in their lives, from the way they see the world, to the way they see themselves to explore the principles inherent in this program, especially as outlined in my book : Prancercise®:The Art of Physical and Spiritual Excellence.”

Joanna Rohrback, B.H.S. Owner/MGR.M of Prancercise LLC

Move like a springy, elated horse?!?!? Sign. Me. Up. Maybe my trail running would improve if I embodied the Principles of Prancercise. I’d better get on it. The VT50 is mere WEEKS away. 50k in 50 days. {Fans self with iPad.} And not for nothing, BRAVO to the Prancercise Lady for putting it out there. She’s moving alright! Like a goddamn philly!

I wish I had seen this video earlier. I woulda just Prancercised Monday away.

How was your Monday? Thoughts on Prancercise? Have you gotten shanked your first day back from vacation?

Get Fit With Fido!

20140602-003028-1828446.jpgI know two kids who were THRILLED their Mom didn’t run long this weekend! Meet Leon James and Pearl Anne. The two lights of my life. Leon James is Heinz 57, a mish mash, if you will. A little pit bull. A little lab. Some Shar Pei and a lot of Love Bug. Pearl is the Evil Beagle on the right. She’s not really evil. Although I think if she could talk, she would methodically discuss her master plan to abolish all UPS men. Globally. They’re simply fantastic dogs. They’ve also been getting serious attention lately- long walks, swimming (Beagle needs her bubble though), and a trail run for L.James. They’re exhausted!

I’m in this weird -So I Just Ran a Marathon. Now what?- space. Even though I am recovering and clearly suffering from PMWS (Post Marathon Withdrawal Sydrome), I am still getting short runs and work outs in every day. They just haven’t been of the super long run variety. It’s been a nice change of pace.  A circuit workout followed by a short run followed by a Leon & Pearl Cool Down Walk. Everybody WINS! Theses mini-workouts have been helping me combat the post-marathon blues. And keeping my pups happy!  I’m just gonna say it. I am starting to LOVE these transition periods between races. {Gasp!} Why? For 3 Super Simple Reasons:

  1. They’re DIFFERENT.
  2. They’re CHALLENGING.
  3. They’re FUN!

As luck would have it, we were contacted by DogVacay.com and asked if we would give their Get Fit With Fido challenge a whirl. Hello?!?! PERFECT TIMING! We pawed at the chance. (See what I just did right there?) The circuit has 5 Dog-Inspired Moves created by Certified Fitness Trainer and Yoga Instructor, Julia Chan. And no. Before you ask, butt sniffing is not involved. Sassy Pants. Along with 5 Moves for you, there are 5 Dog Fun Facts that will help you understand your pooch. Did you know that when a dog does a “burnout” after doing his business, he’s marking his territory WITH GLANDS ON HIS FEET? And you thought he was just wrecking your lawn. For shame.

I did the Get Fit With Fido circuit this past weekend and it was PAWSOME! (Man, I am on FIRE here!) I haven’t done Mountain Climbers in a while and now I remember why —they’re tough! Especially if you do them fast. And I love a Squat and Jump Squat. Any time. They’re a Runner’s Friend. Leon James thoroughly enjoyed running Ladders (an interval workout) with me, rounding out the 5 Moves. I figured I’d get him in on the act. We did it for time on the trails. He was in heaven.

Check out the challenge! You don’t need a dog to do it, Silly. Although it was super fun with my stinky pup. You really don’t need anything but a little space and the will to try.  It’s a fantastic circuit to incorporate into your workout. I’ve done it several times now and am planning on rocking it again today.  It will definitely combat PMWS or just give you a little something different to keep you motivated. If you change nothing, nothing will change, right? So MIX IT UP! Get that body confused. It will LOVE you for it.

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What do you do during those “in between” periods? Do you weave circuit training into your routine? Do you take you dog on vacation or hire a sitter? If you were a dog, what kind of dog would you be?

30 Day Push-Up Challenge. We’re half way there!

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Well smack my ass and call me Sally. We’re half way there! How did that happen?!? Day 15 of the 30 Day Spartan Push-Up Challenge has arrived! Look at you, all committed and junk! Tina and I are so proud of you! (Aren’t we T-Bone?) Isn’t this exciting!?

So. How do you feel?? Strong? Jacked? Bored? Plum tuckered?? Like Quitting?

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Quit?

No. Not you. Not now. We’re too close. We have momentum. Keep going! Homestretch, Friends. Homestretch. We’re at the turnaround heading home. Together. And we’re gritting our teeth. Sweating it out. STRONG FINISH PEOPLE!

Feel like kicking it up a few hundred notches? I found these 3 variations on Fitness Blender. Give ’em a go. They are sure to make you puke strong. Yeah I’m lookin’ at you, Push-Up Jacks.

Push-Up Jacks. Push-up meets jumping jack meets Satan for a Green Smoothie. Sadistic. High intensity muscle and cardiovascular challenge! Gah.

Single Leg Push-Up. The Traditional Push-Up with a twist! The wider you place your knees, the harder it gets. Go on. Try it.

Tricep Push-Up. Later, Bingo Wings. See ya. 🙂

May I have another challenge? Why, Yes!

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Ok People. Who’s ready for a challenge?!

You. Yeah You. In the back.Waving wildly. YES YOU! 

Ready for the Big Reveal?!?!?  

The May Challenge that’s behind Door Number Two is {Insert drumroll}:

PUSH-UPS!

Our friends over at Reebok Spartan Race began another 30 Day Challenge. Actually, they began the “30 Day Push-Up Challenge” back in April, but yours truly was too busy training for a marathon, freezing her ass off and complaining about the weather to engage in it. So alas. Better late than never! Time to get those pectoral, muscles, triceps, and anterior deltoids back in action. Good-bye bingo wings!

So Drop and Give Us 30! A Day. For 30 Days.

The Task:  Starting today, complete 30 push-ups each day for 30 consecutive days. You can be a brave little Spartan and do them all at once, or split them up in to sets and do them when you can. We don’t care how you do them. As long as you do them. Makes sense, right? Make the commitment and get them done. Easy, peasy.

I do solemnly swear that Tina, Myself and the Spartans over at Reebok Spartan Race will keep this push-up ball rolling!  Like us on Facebook. We promise to inspire and motivate you every day as long as you commit to doing them. Let us know how you’re doing! Chime in on the conversation! We’ll post variations too just to mix it up a bit. Come on, it will be fun. I Spartan Swear.

Are we good? Cool. LET’S DO THIS.  30 Day Push-Up Challenge Begins NOW!

We’re proud of you already. 🙂

30 for 30. Drop It Like A Squat.

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Anyone up for a Challenge?!?!
Anyone?
Anyone?!
Bueller?!?!

Our friends over at Reebok Spartan Race threw down the gauntlet. The Challenge: 30 squats a day for 30 consecutive days. No fancy schmancy gym membership required here. No sir. Just you, your body and a boat load of determination. We hopped right on this challenge because: A.) By the time this is over it will hopefully be Spring, and the words “Polar Vortex” will be a distant, God forsaken memory. B.) Our quads BEGGED us to and C.) We LOVE a Challenge.

What the Hell am I doing?

Body weight squats. According to Those Crazy Spartans, here’s how to properly complete a body weight squat in 3 simple steps:

Step 1: Stand with a narrow stance and feet flared at 45 degrees. You can either keep your arms straight or folded behind your head.

Step 2: Relax your knees and let your hips drop lower to the ground while keeping your weight balanced over your heels and your chest straight.

Step 3: Rise to a standing position while keeping your entire body under complete control.

Stay at it. And focus on quality. Gaining mobility may take some gentle stretching and a bit of warming up. Never fear. You have 30 Days to Drop it Like a Squat. You’ll master it.

Remember. It’s not speed. It’s quality. No timing. If 30 become a snap, push yourself! Or, let us push you! Like us on Facebook!

We promise to motivate and inspire you (or minimally make you chuckle). We’ll be with you every squat of the way. Pinkie swear. Oh and by the way, Spartans aren’t paying us. We just happen to be obsessed with all things Spartan and really like their crazy, sadistic style. 🙂 Good stuff.

Let’s do this! AROO!

Is Anyone Ever The Biggest Winner?

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The Big Reveal. Last night a Winner was crowned on The Biggest Loser. I happened to catch the exact moment Rachel Frederickson confidently strode onstage last night to a combination of applause and stunned looks of shock from the two trainer’s. She asked The Host if she could take her shoes off before The Final Weigh In. She hopped on the scale, crossed her exceptionally thin arms across her exceptionally thin frame and hoped….

Her starting weight was 260lbs.
She weighed in last night on live TV at 105 lbs.
She lost 155 lbs.
She won the competition by losing 60% of her body weight.
In 5 months.

Honey, I think it’s safe to say the shoes really wouldn’t have mattered.

The Twitter-verse erupted with disgust. Skeletal! Gross! Shock! Gasp! Waaaay too thin! Even Jillian and Bob looked a little salty. While I am not in the business of diagnosing eating disorders from the comfort of my living room couch, I will say that 5″4 and 105 lbs puts her BMI at 18. Which, love BMIs or hate BMIs, puts her “Underweight.” In the history of The Biggest Loser, not a single contestant has lost that percentage of their body weight. Ever.

So I ask…

Is anyone really that stunned that an extreme weight loss competition resulted in EXTREME WEIGHT LOSS? Frederickson played the game. She was in it, to win it. And she did. Losing 60% of your body weight in 5 months doesn’t sound like healthy sustainable weight loss, in my humble, pajama clad opinion. But. The one who loses the most, wins in this forum. And win she did.

Wasn’t that what The Biggest Loser viewing public wanted to see?

No?
Too much?
Too little?
Then what.
Because “Just right” is for fairy tales.
Who really wins?
Ever.
I mean honestly.

I’m fucking exhausted.

Over-weight. Obese. Healthy. Fit. Skinny. Skeletal.
What? What is it? How should I be?

Can’t I just be me and be proud of who I am? Who I have become? Can’t I just honor my body, live with intention and be a kind human being?

Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.
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Strong is the new skinny.
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Extremes. You can’t be “thin” you need to have a “thigh gap”. Or a “bikini bridge”, whatever the hell that is. You can’t be fit. You need to be jacked. You have to have a 12-pack and a body fat of 3%. This kind of one-up-man ship is terrifying. Can’t I be healthy? Is anyone hashtagging #healthy? Oh but it’s Thinspiration! Jesus Christ. Meanwhile hashtagging #thinspiration next to an Instagrammed super model with a #thighgap is promoting unrealistic expectations about body image, perpetuating the myth that you are never, ever good enough and, instead of being inspiring, is actually demoralizing. The same holds true for the motivation memes of the uber-fit.

Self confidence? What self confidence? (#gone)

I want to start a new campaign.
I am ME. And I’m Fan-fucking-tastic.
Just trying things out here.

Oh how the body image pendulum swings. And it’s making me nauseous.